Whether you’re saving to start or expand your family as a gay, bi or trans man or want to take the kids on vacation, having some money saved is essential. It’s especially important during a pandemic with all this uncertainty afoot. Here’s the problem: Too many pieces of money-saving advice require a complete lifestyle overhaul for you to see a return.
Totally going off the grid and living off the land isn’t necessary, you can usually save a lot of money by combining savings from several different directions.
Bringing up kids is never cheap, it’s estimated the average cost of raising a child until age 17 is $233,610. That doesn’t include the cost of IVF, adoption, surrogacy or any other paths you venture down to fatherhood either. So, here are seven savvy saving tips to help you out.
- Organize Your Grocery Shopping
- Cook Smarter
- Identify What You Can Live Without
- Sell What You No Longer Need
- Invest in Reusable Items
- Swap Vacations for Staycations
- Give the Gift of Time
1. Organize Your Grocery Shopping
The more organized you are when you go grocery shopping, the more money you can save. Have a list of items you need to buy for pre-planned meals, an envelope filled with related coupons and a maximum budget you’re prepared to spend on the trip. That last tip alone can keep you from overspending.
Never shop hungry, you’ll find yourself with candy and delicious treats in your cart that you didn’t plan on purchasing, we promise! Also, try to shop when it’s not peak times, crowds mean added stress which is never good for a budget-conscious shopper trying to grab the best discounts - especially during a pandemic.
The best way to avoid further store stress? Don’t take your kids to the grocery store if you can help it. We’ve all made that mistake. Thankfully, we made it out alive but I’m certain there were a few more gray hairs as a result.
2. Cook Smarter
One of the greatest downfalls of even the most frugal family is an impromptu trip to Burger King in lieu of dinner. If you can, batch cook and freeze leftovers for future meals, it’s a lifesaver. You’ll be glad of some pre-prepared meals in the early days with a newborn baby, so fill up that tupperware and thank yourself later when it’s 3am and you’re on the night feed.
Making your own baby-friendly foods and freezing individual portions is also more economical than buying pre-made jars and pouches.
3. Identify What You Can Live Without
Now, this is harder than it sounds. Most of us have services we hardly use or have completely forgotten about. It could be canceling a hardly used gym membership and exercising at home with the kids instead or not giving in to Disney+.
Unsurprisingly, 59% of millennial parents underestimate the cost of raising children. None of us really know! I stopped keeping count. So although it may only be $50 to $100 per month you save from cutting out subscriptions, over the years it really adds up.
4. Sell What You No Longer Need
Instead of throwing away items you no longer use in the trash, try selling them first to make some additional cash. You can have a garage sale and also sell on Craigslist or eBay. By doing this, you’re getting rid of junk hanging around and potentially making a pretty penny to put away.
Check-in the local area if you have a Facebook community where you can sell stuff. You’ll find couches that have been through five kids and a dog that go for a good amount. It definitely proves you can get cash for stuff you hardly use anymore.
5. Invest in Reusable Items
Disposable items are usually cheap and super-convenient, but not when you have to buy the same items repeatedly. Your family probably uses a ton of paper products, but why keep spending your cash on them when you can purchase reusable goods instead?
Paper towels cost around a dollar a roll – instead, buy a pack of washable cloths that cost the same and you’ll save money in the long run. Avoid buying plastic water bottles, they’re costly to your bank account and the environment. It’s much more effective to purchase a filter to get your water for cheap.
Before you grab a disposable item off store shelves, ask yourself if there’s a reusable solution instead. These alternatives are widely available and becoming more affordable too.
6. Swap Vacations for Staycations
Instead of blowing your budget on a trip to Disneyland (which might not be possible until 2021 anyway), see what fun mischief you can get up to close by. If you can take a few days off work and school, a “staycation” feels like a vacation even if you’re still within your abode.
Nearby towns and cities have tons of activities to do and explore, whether it’s historical sites, hiking trails, free museums or cheap daytime admission to the outdoor movie theater.
As long as you make it exciting for your kids, they’ll hardly miss the Disney parade. Vacations are about spending time and making memories together. Do you really have to go on vacation for that?
7. Give the Gift of Time
Given the choice, kids would take a day with their dads over a game that’s going to occupy them for a few hours any day. Time is a valuable gift to give anybody, especially your family. Ditch expensive gifts and plan to spend some time with the people you want to give something to.
A trip to the park, a picnic lunch, a garden adventure could all be worth more to a person than a physical gift - plus it’s cheaper.
Whether you want a nest egg in case of a rainy day, or you’re saving towards college fees, are you planning to put a little money aside each month to build up savings for this? Now you have these tips to get started, we want to know what money-saving advice you’d give to dads and dad-to-be. Send them in below so we can all be savvier when it comes to our finances.